Mozambique’s government on Monday denounced gruesome video footage of men in army uniform beating and executing a naked woman suspected of being an insurgent.
The video, circulated on social media earlier on Monday, shows what appears to be government troops shouting and marching behind a woman stripped of her clothing.
The men hit the victim several times with sticks before shooting her dead on the side of a road with Kalashnikovs.
“You’re from al-Shabab,” the executioners are heard shouting in Portuguese – referring to a shadowy militant group that has led a growing insurgency against the government since 2017.
Mozambique’s defense ministry later condemned the “horrifying” images and called for an investigation to “ascertain their authenticity”.
“The defense and security forces reiterate that they do not agree with any barbaric act that substantiates the violation of human rights,” it said in a statement on Monday.
“Facts of this nature should always be denounced by all living forces in society.”
Several other videos allegedly showing soldiers abusing captives believed to be linked to al-Shabab were leaked to Amnesty International in May.
The watchdog has since accused Mozambican security forces of torturing suspected militants in the northern Cabo Delgado region, where the insurgency operates.
The government dismissed the allegations last week, saying the violence was carried out by militants impersonating troops.
Monday’s video was posted by several human rights activists, sparking outrage.
“This is quite chilling,” tweeted Amnesty International’s east and southern Africa director Deprose Muchena.
“When does this end?”
Military forces have been struggling to regain control of Cabo Delgado, which is home to one of Africa’s biggest liquefied natural gas projects.
Militants have launched a series of attacks on villages and towns in the area over the past three years, killing more than 1,500 people and displacing at least 250,000.
The group has grown bolder in recent months, escalating violence as part of a campaign to establish an Islamist caliphate.
A strategic port in the town of Mocimboa da Praia has been occupied by militants since Aug 12. Source: AFP